PC Will Medley entertaining crowds on Briggate

Busking bobby wows shoppers

A Leeds neighbourhood policing officer has become an internet hit after he entertained crowds with an impromptu busking session

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Police appeal for help in finding family of Leeds murder victim

Police are appealing for any relatives of a 38 year old woman who was found with serious head injuries in Leeds on Thursday evening to come forward. The woman, who has been named as Michaela Heaton, died of her injuries. Officers are treating her death as murder.

"We are trying to trace any family of Michaela and I would urge any relatives to come forward. There has also been speculation that she was pregnant. Although she may have given impression she was, she was not. I would also again like to appeal to any witnesses to the incident to come forward - and especially anyone who may have seen a man and a woman arguing or the incident itself."

– Detective Chief Inspector Elizabeth Belton

A 53-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in police custody.

Hobby groups for the elderly

Robin Silverwood & Eric Dalton
Robin Silverwood & Eric Dalton Credit: Leeds City Council

Older people in Leeds are sticking with some exciting new hobbies after getting connected with their local community.

A number of the city’s Neighbourhood Networks, funded by Leeds City Council, have engaged community connectors from their local areas, who are helping people to pass on their skills and knowledge to older residents through a new pilot project.

Among those who have got involved through the scheme is 66-year-old Robin Silverwood, who is teaching members of Middleton Elderly Aid, along with other people from the area, how to carve their own walking sticks from pieces of wood found in their local park.

Robin began carving walking sticks around 30 years ago from wood he found while he worked in Middleton Park for Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service.

He has since taught a number of other local men how to craft their own sticks and even sources pieces of antler, shed by deer in Scotland, to carefully fashion the handles.

He said: “I used to find all these bits of wood in the park and I started carving them just as a hobby. I was asked if I’d come along and show other people how to do it and now there’s quite a few of us who work on walking sticks every week.

“Sometimes people come in and want to buy one too, which helps us to get more materials to keep the project going.

“People have been carving their own walking sticks for hundreds of years but a lot of people living in a city would never get the chance to do something rural like this.

“It’s great that older people are coming along and learning something new and we have the time of our lives here.”

Former motor mechanic Eric Dalton, 85, is one of those who has been taught how to carve his own walking sticks.

He said: “Robin asked if I’d like to come along and now I really enjoy it. It’s really friendly and we get to meet lots of different people. I’ve got two of my own walking sticks at home now too.”

Other activities set up through the community connectors include a group making their own terrariums (small scale ecosystems grown in glass containers) a baking group and a knitting group.

The knitting group is currently working to create dozens of tiny blankets which they will then donate to the premature baby unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

Jackie Somerside, 60, who helps run the knitting group, said: “I’ve been knitting since I was a teenager and people have just been coming along and picking it up. Everyone is friendly and I think the community connectors are a brilliant project.”


Residents warned over sneak in burglaries as temperatures rise

Police in Leeds are warning people to protect their homes against burglars as recent high temperatures have seen residents leaving their homes insecure.

The advice follows the arrest of two teenagers in connection with a burglary at a home in Cross Hall Court, Morley, yesterday.

At about 4.15am, thieves got into the house through an open ground-floor bedroom window and removed electrical items. Two males, aged 17 and 18, have been arrested in connection with the incident and are currently in custody.

Detective Inspector Mark Strother, of Leeds District Neighbourhood Crime Team, said: "In recent days we have seen an increase in the number of burglaries where the offenders have got in through windows that have been left open due to the hot weather.

"With a heatwave being forecast we are keen to remind people to be conscious that there are burglars out there looking to take advantage as people try to keep cool.

"Understandably people want to ventilate their homes but we need them to do it in a security conscious way to avoid them becoming a victim.

"We advise only opening doors and windows of rooms you are in and shutting them if you move elsewhere in the house. Keep any valuables, such as phones and car keys, out of sight and out of easy reach from doors and windows.

"There are also various products available that mean people can keep their homes well ventilated in the hot weather without them being vulnerable to thieves.

"We will continue doing all we can to target and arrest the burglars but we need people to be conscientious when it comes to the security of their home."

Priest killed in murder-suicide

Rev. Susan Louise Lancaster
Rev Susan Louise Lancaster

A female priest was found murdered in her home hours before her husband was discovered dead at a local beauty spot in a suspected murder-suicide.

The body of Rev Suzanne Louise Lancaster, 67, was discovered by police at 10pm last night at her home in Talbot Avenue, Roundhay in Leeds, following a tip-off.

The call also raised concerns for the welfare of the man, and shortly afterwards the body of her husband, Roy Lancaster, 54, was found at the foot of Malham Cove - a 260ft limestone, amphitheatre-shaped cliff in north Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire Police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

Rev Lancaster, known locally as Louise, was a mother-of-two and grandmother to three, and associate priest at St Edmund's church in Roundhay.

The church's vicar, Rev David Paton-Williams, told of the congregation's "great sadness" at the double tragedy.

He said: "To hear of the deaths of Louise and Roy Lancaster has been a profound shock.

"They were both active members of St Edmund's church and Louise was also a part-time priest; she shared in the ministry here by taking services and helping in other ways, such as taking communion to people in their homes.

"She was a deeply prayerful person who was held in great affection by members of the congregation.

"Although it's a terrible sadness for the church family at St Edmund's, Louise had two daughters and three young grandchildren and at the moment they are the ones who are uppermost in our prayers."

It is understood the couple's two daughters, one of whom lives in the south of England while the other is believed to reside in New Zealand, have been informed.

Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson, of West Yorkshire Police Protective Services, said: "We have been in contact with the couple's family and our enquiries are ongoing. We are not looking for anyone in connection with this incident."

Prison pair guilty of posting explosive substances

Two men will face extended prison sentences after posting crude explosive devices and racist letters to Solicitors in West Yorkshire and Lancashire.

The prisoners from HMP Full Sutton were charged following an investigation by the North East Counter Terrorism Unit last year. Officers from the CTU were alerted by Prison Officers, after they intercepted a letter containing an incendiary device.

A jury at Leeds Crown Court found 23 year old Bret Atkins guilty of Conspiracy to Send an Explosive Substance with Intent.

26 year old Jamie Snow had previously pleaded guilty to Sending an Explosive Substance with Intent and two offences of Threats to Kill.

The pair will be sentenced on September 4, at Leeds Crown Court.

Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Wilson is Head of the North East Counter Terrorism Unit. He said: “Bret Atkins and Jamie Snow waged a campaign of hate against innocent people, choosing victims purely on the grounds of their race or religion.

"They expressed deeply racist and anti-Muslim views and sent a series of threatening letters, designed to instil fear in their recipients.

“Snow and Atkins took their hatred beyond threats to kill and even tried to post explosive materials in an attempt to cause harm or injury.

"Thankfully this mail was intercepted by vigilant officers within the Prison Service and was never able to enter the postal system.

“Snow and Atkins may already be in prison, but they will still be held accountable. We will continue to work with the Prison Service to respond to racially aggravated incidents and punish those who seek to threaten the safety and confidence of our communities.”

Marcella Goligher, Governor of Full Sutton, said: “We are committed to the prevention of crime and are proud of the work our vigilant and highly-skilled members of staff do to detect it.

“These convictions have been secured as a result of strong partnerships, and we will continue to work with the police and the CPS to ensure prisoners who break the law are prosecuted.”


Patel hat-trick puts Yorkshire's last eight place at risk

Jeetan Patel took a hat-trick to help Birmingham Bears claim an exciting five-wicket victory over Yorkshire Vikings in the NatWest t20 Blast North Division match at Headingley.

The veteran spinner dismissed Kane Williamson, Andrew Gale and Adam Lyth off successive balls in the ninth over to help reduce Yorkshire to 62 for five, and although the hosts recovered to post 147 for six, it was not enough to deny Birmingham.

Led by Laurie Evans' 69 not out off 43 balls, which included nine fours and two sixes, the Bears - who looked in trouble at 40 for four - squeezed home with two balls to spare in front of a 6,251 crowd.

Victory for the home side would have ensured them of a place in the last eight of the competition but now they will most probably have to beat Nottinghamshire at the same venue in a week's time to make the cut.

Summer of misery for rail passengers

Thousands of passengers are facing a summer of disruption to their journeys while work is carried out on a rail bridge.

The swing bridge at Selby carries the line which links Hull with Leeds and Manchester, and will close in a week's time until the beginning of September.

As James Webster reports for many travellers it will mean getting on a replacement bus service to complete their journey.

Body of murdered priest's husband found at beauty spot

Rev. Susan Louise Lancaster
Rev Susan Louise Lancaster

A priest at a Leeds church was found murdered at her home hours before police discovered the body of her husband at a North Yorkshire beauty spot.

The body of the Rev Susan Lancaster, 67, known locally as Louise, was found last night at her semi-detached property in Talbot Avenue in Roundhay.

Officers from West Yorkshire Police went to the property after their counterparts in North Yorkshire were contacted by a man, understood to be her husband Roy Lancaster, 54, saying he had killed his wife.

The call also raised concerns for the welfare of Mr Lancaster and after a hunt by both forces he was found at 2.30am today at the foot of Malham Cove, a natural limestone formation in North Yorkshire.

Mrs Lancaster is understood to be involved with the nearby St Edmund’s Church in Roundhay, whose website lists her as an ‘associate priest’.

Police say they are not treating Mr Lancaster’s death as suspicious and are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Dunkerley, from West Yorkshire Police Protective Services (Crime), said: “Our enquiries are still at an early stage but we are treating the woman’s death as murder.

“We are not yet in a position to confirm the identities of those involved. We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”

Experienced officer relives moment his colleague was shot

A veteran police officer wiped tears from his eyes today as he told a jury how he pleaded with a gunman to spare him and his colleague who had already suffered terrible injuries after being shot.

PC Richard Whiteley gave a graphic first hand account of how, as he desperately tried to help his badly injured partner, the gunman appeared again, raised the weapon and taunted them by asking them if they "wanted some more".

He was speaking at the trial of a man accused of attempting to murder one of the officers on a routine call in Leeds last year.

Jon Hill reports from Leeds Crown Court:

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